Welsh Government’s plan to tackle town centre regeneration

Town centres are at the heart of Welsh life, but more needs to be done to help their regeneration according to two new reports, according to the South Wales Argus.

… we have all failed to control out of town development and we need to mobilise alliances for change in our town centres…

South Wales Argus writes:

The reports – Small Towns, Big Issues and Regenerating Town Centres in Wales looked at how town centres can be given a boost and what needs to be done to allow them to thrive.

Small Towns, Big Issues, was prepared by Manchester Business School Professor Karel Williams and follows an in-depth study of Bangor, Bridgend and Haverfordwest town centres.

Regenerating Town Centres was prepared by Audit Wales. Both reports concluded that town and city centres are at the heart of Welsh life but addressing the challenges they face requires ‘imagination and ambitious leadership’ and backed up by ‘co-ordinated, cross-government decision making.’

They have made specific recommendations for both Welsh Government and local authorities covering access to public transport, effective promotion of town centres and the simplification of funding streams.

Deputy minister for climate change, Lee Waters, visited Bangor to meet with local leaders and heads of community organisations to discuss the findings and reveal how the Welsh Government will respond to the reports. He was also joined by Professor Williams.

He said: “We need joined-up intervention to lift town centres, and an effort to tackle out-of-town development, if we are to succeed in turning things around.”

He also stressed the need to focus on dealing with out-of-town developments….

“Both reports make clear that we have all failed to control out of town development and we need to mobilise alliances for change in our town centres to turn things round.

“Our Town Centre First principle, embedded in Wales’ national development plan Future Wales, means that town and city centre sites should be the first consideration for all decisions on the location of workplaces and services.”

Mr Waters outlined the action the Welsh Government would take….

He also confirmed the government will make an additional £5 million of loan funding available as part of Transforming Towns this financial year – £60 million in loan funding has already been provided to support town centre regeneration.

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